Larry Dierker

Lawrence Edward Dierker (born September 22, 1946) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher, manager, and broadcaster. During a 14-year baseball career as a pitcher, he pitched from 1964–1977 for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals. He also managed the Astros for five years (1997–2001).

Larry Dierker
Larry Dierker at SABR Convention 2014
Dierker in 2014
Pitcher / Manager
Born: September 22, 1946 (age 72)
Hollywood, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 22, 1964, for the Houston Colt .45s
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1977, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Win–loss record139–123
Earned run average3.31
Managerial record435–348
Winning %.556
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Playing career

AstrosRet 49
Larry Dierker's number 49 was retired by the Houston Astros in 2002.

Signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, Dierker made his major-league pitching debut on his 18th birthday – and struck out Willie Mays in the first inning. He pitched 2 2/3 innings while allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits, three walks while having three strikeouts; he was credited with the loss while starting his career with a 6.75 ERA. [1] He pitched in two other games that season, both being the last pitcher for the team, although they were both in losses. In 1965, he appeared in 26 games while garnering a 7-8 record, a 3.50 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 146.2 innings. In the following year, he went 10-8 while having a 3.18 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 29 game appearances and 187 innings pitched. He pitched in just 15 games for the 1967 season, though he went 6-5 with a 3.36 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 99 innings. His 1968 season was not too much better as he went 12-15 in 32 games with a 3.31 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 233.2 innings.

In 1969, he became the Astros' first 20-game winner, while compiling a 2.33 earned run average, 20 complete games and 232 strikeouts over 305 innings. He was elected to the National League All-Star team that season. He went 16-12 the following season on 37 games while having a 3.87 ERA and 191 strikeouts on 269.2 innings pitched. In 1971, he went 12-6 on 24 game appearances while having a 2.72 ERA and 91 strikeouts on 159 innings pitched while being named to the All-Star Game, although an elbow injury ended his season after August. In 1972, he went 15-8 while having a 3.40 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 31 game appearances and 214.2 innings. He appeared in just 14 games in 1973 due to injuries, going 1-1 while having a 4.33 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 27 innings. He rebounded a bit the following year, going 11-10 with a 2.90 ERA and 150 strikeouts on 223.2 innings and 33 games. He went 14-16 the next year while having a 4.00 ERA and 127 strikeouts on 232 innings and 34 games. 1976 was his last full season of play along with his last with the Astros. He went 13-14 while having a 3.69 ERA and 112 strikeouts on 187.2 innings and 28 games. On July 9 of that year, Dierker no-hit the Montreal Expos 6-0 before 12,511 fans at the Astrodome, recording eight strikeouts along the way. [2] On November 23, 1976, he was traded (along with Jerry DaVanon) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bob Detherage and Joe Ferguson. The 1977 season was his last season in baseball. He pitched in 11 games while garnering a 2-6 record with a 4.58 ERA and six strikeouts on 39.1 innings. He garnered his last victory on July 1st with a seven inning, five hit performance while allowing only one run in a 3-1 over the Chicago Cubs. His last appearance was a one inning performance on October 1st against the New York Mets, walking one on no hits and runs.[3] On March 28, 1978, he was released by the Cardinals.

As of 2016, Dierker is the last 17-year-old to make his major league debut.[4]

On May 19, 2002, the Astros honored Dierker, retiring his No. 49 jersey.


From 1979 to 1996, Dierker served as a color commentator on the Astros' radio and television broadcasts, a position he returned to in 2004 and 2005. In 1995, Dierker alongside Pete Van Wieren called Games 1–3 of the National League Division Series between the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies for The Baseball Network. The first two games were broadcast on NBC while Game 3 was on ABC.

Managerial career

Dierker was elected National League Manager of the Year in 1998. Houston finished in first place in four of the five years Dierker managed the team, failing only in 2000 when the Astros placed fourth.

In 1999, Dierker had a medical scare during a game against the San Diego Padres. The Houston manager had been plagued by severe headaches for several days. During the June 13 game, Dierker had a grand mal seizure that rendered him unconscious and nearly killed him. He required emergency brain surgery for a cavernous angioma caused by a tangle of blood vessels in his brain. The game was suspended with the Astros ahead 4-1; it was not completed until the Padres returned to Houston on July 23 (the Astros won, 4-3). After four weeks of recovery, he returned to the helm of the Astros and guided the team through the duration of the season. The Astros won 97 games and a third consecutive National League Central Division title.

Later career

Dierker penned a book entitled This Ain't Brain Surgery, which detailed his baseball career as a pitcher and a manager. He later wrote My Team, in which he ruminated on the greatest players he had been witness to in his years of baseball.

After a short period where Dierker had terminated relations with the club, as of 2015, the Astros' website lists Dierker as employed by them in the role of Special Assistant to the President, Reid Ryan.

In 2017, Dierker and Benjamin Scardello created a podcast called 49's Fastball in which Dierker shares baseball stories he researched going back to the early years of baseball.

The stories include a wide range of subjects and little known "back story" narratives about Players, Stadiums, Records, Promos and Unusual Events, Pitching, Openers and Debuts, Hitting, and All-Star Games.

Managerial records

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
HOU 1997 84 78 .519 1st in NL Central 0 3 .000 Lost NLDS to ATL
HOU 1998 102 60 .630 1st in NL Central 1 3 .250 Lost NLDS to SD
HOU 1999 84 51 .622 1st in NL Central 1 3 .250 Lost NLDS to ATL
HOU 2000 72 90 .444 4th in NL Central
HOU 2001 93 69 .574 1st in NL Central 0 3 .000 Lost NLDS to ATL
Total 435 348 .556 2 12 .143

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Yearly League Leaders & Records for Youngest at

External links

Preceded by
Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad & Rollie Fingers
No-hitter pitcher
July 9, 1976
Succeeded by
Blue Moon Odom & Francisco Barrios
1969 Houston Astros season

The 1969 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. The team finished in fifth place in the newly established National League West with a record of 81–81, twelve games behind the Atlanta Braves. It was also the first time in their history that the Astros did not finish below .500.

1973 Houston Astros season

The 1973 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the National League West with a record of 82–80, 17 games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

1974 Houston Astros season

The 1974 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the National League West with a record of 81–81, 21 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1975 Houston Astros season

The 1975 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. The team finished last in the National League West with a record of 64–97, 43​1⁄2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds. The Astros' .398 winning percentage is, as of 2010, the worst in franchise history. Houston also lost 97 games in 1965 and 1991.

1976 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros 1976 season was a season in American baseball. The team finished third in the National League West with a record of 80–82, 22 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds.

Big Bamboo Lounge

The Big Bamboo Lounge was a bar in Kissimmee, Florida known as a popular after work hangout for players, coaches, and fans of the Houston Astros during spring training in nearby Osceola County Stadium and year-round for employees of the Walt Disney World Resort. It was located at 4849 W. Irlo Bronson Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. It was known simply as "The Boo" by regulars. The front of the bar was decorated with a World War II era ambulance and spotting tower which were maintained by customer and employee volunteers.

The bar opened in 1977 when Bruce Muir, a former World War II fighter pilot, bought the former home of a doctor and modeled the bar after those he had experienced in the South Pacific. The walls were decorated with Disney employee name tags and business cards from visitors. In keeping with the theme of the South Pacific of the 1930s bartenders wore Hawaiian shirts and featured swing music. The Big Bamboo was closed in 2004 due to hurricane damage. In December 2005, a fire destroyed the building, believed by officials to be started by vagrants trying to keep warm. The bar remains closed.In 2003, Astro's broadcaster Larry Dierker was so enamored with the bar that he built a replica at the Astros Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

Buddy Hancken

Morris Medlock "Buddy" Hancken (August 30, 1914 – February 15, 2007) was an American catcher in Major League Baseball who played during the 1940 season. Hancken batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama.

Hancken spent seven decades in professional baseball as a player, manager, coach, scout, and executive. He began his career in the minor leagues in the late 1930s with the Toledo Mud Hens and Seattle Rainiers. Then reached the Majors when manager Connie Mack knew he could catch knuckleballs and wanted him as the fourth catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics. Hancken played his only Major League game on May 14, 1940, getting a putout in the field, but he never had a chance to bat. Unfortunately, Mack sent his two knuckleballers to the minors and Hancken became expendable.

From 1942 to 1946 Hancken served in the United States Marines during World War II, but he would not leave baseball behind forever. He managed ten different minor league teams, spent time as a scout for several clubs, and served as a bench coach for the Houston Astros from 1968 through 1972. He then joined the Astros front office staff in 1971 and 1991–92, being recognized as a mentor to players like Enos Cabell, Larry Dierker and Art Howe.

Hancken died in Orange, Texas at the age of 92. At the time of his death, he was one of the oldest living former major leaguers.

Chris Holt (baseball)

Christopher Michael Holt (born September 18, 1971) is a former pitcher for the Houston Astros (1996–1997 and 1999–2000) and Detroit Tigers (2001). He was a member of the Astros' National League Central Division champions in 1997 and 1999.

In five seasons between Houston and Detroit, Holt compiled a Win-Loss record of 28-51. His best season came in 1997 when he finished with an 8-12 record along with a 3.52 ERA for the division champion Astros. After 1997, he pitched three mediocre seasons for Houston and Detroit and has never again pitched in MLB. On April 28, 2000, he tossed a one-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2003 his former manager, Larry Dierker, blasted Holt in his memoir for expecting clubhouse personnel to wash his car before he returned home from a road trip.

Following his major league career, he pitched two seasons in Japan for the Yokohama BayStars.

Leroy Reams

Leroy Reams (born August 11, 1943 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas) is a retired American professional baseball player. An outfielder, first baseman and third baseman by trade, he had a nine-year pro career but appeared in only one Major League game as a pinch hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies on May 7, 1969. Batting for Barry Lersch in the eighth inning of a game at Connie Mack Stadium against the Houston Astros, Reams struck out against Larry Dierker, who pitched a five-hit, 14-strikeout 6–1 victory against Reams' Phillies.In his playing days, Reams batted left-handed, threw right-handed and was listed as 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and 175 pounds (79 kg). Signed originally by the New York Yankees in 1962, he was acquired by the Phils after two seasons in the Yankee system. Most of his career was spent at the Double-A level. After his one game in the big leagues, Reams spent the rest of 1969 with the Double-A Reading Phillies and Triple-A Eugene Emeralds. He retired after the 1970 season, and after playing in 954 minor league games.

List of Houston Astros Opening Day starting pitchers

The Houston Astros are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Houston, Texas. They currently play in the American League West division. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Houston Astros have used 21 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 49 seasons. The 20 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 20 wins, 21 losses and 9 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.The Astros began to play in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45s (their name was changed to the Astros in 1965 when the Houston Astrodome opened as their home ball park). Bobby Shantz started their first Opening Day game on April 10, 1962 against the Chicago Cubs at Houston's Colt Stadium and was credited with the win. In their first eight seasons, the Colt .45s / Astros used eight different Opening Day starters. In 1970, that streak ended when Larry Dierker made his second Opening Day start.Roy Oswalt has made the most Opening Day starts for the Astros, with eight such starts from 2003 through 2010. Three different pitchers have each made five Opening Day starts for the Astros: J. R. Richard (1976–1980), Mike Scott (1987–1991) and Shane Reynolds (1996–2000). Dierker made four Opening Day starts for the Astros, and Joe Niekro and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan made three apiece. Dierker has the best record in Opening Day starts with four wins and no losses. Niekro and Don Wilson share the worst record in Opening Day starts with no wins and two losses each. Niekro also had one no decision.The Astros have played in three home ball parks. Their first home ball park was Colt Stadium. Their starting pitchers had one win and one loss in their two Opening Day games at Colt Stadium. They played 25 Opening Day games in the Astrodome after moving there in 1965, and their starting pitchers had a record of 12 wins, 8 losses and 5 no decisions in those games. In 2000, they moved to Enron Field (subsequently renamed Astros Field and Minute Maid Park) in Downtown Houston. Through 2010, they have played nine Opening Day games there, and their starting pitchers have a record of three wins, four losses and two no decisions in those games. This makes the record of the Astros' Opening Day starting pitchers in home games 16 wins, 13 losses and 7 no decisions. Their record in Opening Day away games is four wins, eight losses and two no decisions. The Astros have advanced to the World Series once, in 2005. Oswalt lost to the St. Louis Cardinals as the Opening Day starter that season.

List of Houston Astros broadcasters

Broadcasters for the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team.

List of Houston Astros managers

The Houston Astros are a professional baseball franchise based in Houston, Texas. They are a member of the American League (AL) West in Major League Baseball (MLB). The team joined MLB in 1962 as an expansion team named the Houston Colt .45s and changed their name to the Houston Astros in 1965. The team won their first NL Championship in 2005. Having first played in Colt Stadium (1962–1964), and later in The Astrodome, now known as the Reliant Astrodome (1965–1999), the Astros have played their home games at Minute Maid Park, which was first named The Ballpark at Union Station, since 2000. The franchise is owned by Jim Crane, and Jeff Luhnow is their general manager.There have been 23 managers for the Astros franchise. The team's first manager was Harry Craft, who managed for three seasons. Bill Virdon is the franchise's all-time leader for the most regular-season games managed (1066), and the most regular-season game wins (544); Phil Garner holds the record for most playoff games managed with the Astros with 26 while A. J. Hinch holds the record for most all-time playoff wins (14). Salty Parker is the Astros' all-time leader for the highest regular-season winning percentage, as he has only managed one game, which he won. Of the managers who have managed a minimum of 162 games (one season), Larry Dierker has the highest regular-season winning percentage with .556. Garner is the franchise's all-time leader for the highest playoff winning percentage with .500. Leo Durocher is the only Astros manager to have been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Garner and Hinch are the only managers to have won an league pennant with the Astros, winning one in the National League in 2005 and one in the American League in 2017. Larry Dierker is the only Astros manager to have had his uniform number retired by the Astros, with his uniform number 49 retired by the Astros in 2002. Dierker is also the sixth manager in MLB history to win a division championship in his first season for the Astros in 1997. Lanier and Dierker are the only managers to have won a Manager of the Year Award with the Astros, winning it in 1986 and 1998 respectively. Grady Hatton, Lanier, Dierker, and Cooper have spent their entire managing careers with the Astros.

List of Houston Astros team records

This is a list of individual single-season records for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball Manager of the Year Award

In Major League Baseball, the Manager of the Year Award is an honor given annually since 1983 to the best managers in the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The winner is voted on by 30 members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Each places a vote for first, second, and third place among the managers of each league. The manager with the highest score in each league wins the award.Several managers have won the award in a season when they led their team to 100 or more wins. Lou Piniella won 116 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2001, the most by a winning manager, and Joe Torre won 114 with the New York Yankees in 1998. Sparky Anderson and Tony La Russa finished with identical 104–58 records in 1984 and 1988, respectively. Three National League managers, including Dusty Baker, Whitey Herzog, and Larry Dierker, have exceeded the century mark as well. Baker's San Francisco Giants won 103 games in 1993; Dierker's 1998 Houston Astros won 102 and Herzog led the Cardinals to 101 wins in the award's third season.In 1991, Bobby Cox became the first manager to win the award in both leagues, winning with the Atlanta Braves and having previously won with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985. La Russa, Piniella, Jim Leyland, Bob Melvin, Davey Johnson, and Joe Maddon have since won the award in both leagues. Cox and La Russa have won the most awards, with four. Baker, Leyland, Piniella, Showalter and Maddon have won three times. In 2005, Cox became the first manager to win the award in consecutive years. Bob Melvin and Brian Snitker are the most recent winners.

Because of the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike cut the season short and cancelled the post-season, the BBWAA writers effectively created a de facto mythical national championship (similar to college football) by naming managers of the unofficial league champions (lead the leagues in winning percentage) (Buck Showalter and Felipe Alou) as Managers of the Year. Two franchises, the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers, have not had a manager win the award.

Only six managers have won the award while leading a team that finished outside the top two spots in its division. Ted Williams was the first, after leading the "expansion" Washington Senators to a third-place finish (and, at 86-76, their only winning season) in the American League East, in 1969. Buck Rodgers won the award in 1987 with the third-place Expos. Tony Peña and Showalter won the award with third-place teams in back-to-back years: Peña with the Royals in 2003, and Showalter with the Rangers in 2004. Joe Girardi is the only manager to win the award with a fourth-place team (2006 Florida Marlins); he is also the only manager to win the award after fielding a team with a losing record.

Matt Galante

Matthew Joseph Galante (born March 22, 1944 in Brooklyn, New York) is a former minor League baseball infielder and Major League coach and acting manager. The 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m), 157 lb (71 kg) Galante attended St. John's University and was selected as the 833rd and final pick of the 1966 Major League Baseball draft by the New York Yankees.

National League Division Series

In Major League Baseball, the National League Division Series (NLDS) determines which two teams from the National League will advance to the National League Championship Series. The Division Series consists of two best-of-five series, featuring the three division winners and the winner of the wild-card play-off.

Ron Herbel

Ronald Samuel Herbel (January 16, 1938 – January 20, 2000) was a right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher. His .029 career batting average is the lowest batting average in Major League history for a player with a minimum of 100 at-bats.Herbel set another record for batting futility, he accumulated the fewest hits of any pitcher or position player in major league history reaching his first 100 at-bats with one. He got his second hit on June 9, 1966 at the Houston Astrodome, a fifth-inning single RBI single off of Larry Dierker. He was 1-for-108 (.009) in the majors up to that point and 0-for-12 beginning the 1966 season. It was his only safety of the season, going 1-for-38 (.026) overall. After his second hit, he went 4-for-97 (.041) thereafter, completing his major league career in 1971 to finish 6-for-206.

Society for American Baseball Research

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is a membership organization dedicated to fostering the research and dissemination of the history and record of baseball. Established in Cooperstown, New York, in August 1971 by sportswriter Bob Davids, it is based in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Baseball Network

The Baseball Network was a short-lived television broadcasting joint venture between ABC, NBC and Major League Baseball. Under the arrangement, beginning in the 1994 season, the league produced its own in-house telecasts of games, which were then brokered to air on ABC and NBC. This was perhaps most evident by the copyright beds shown at the end of the telecasts, which stated "The proceeding program has been paid for by the office of The Commissioner of Baseball". The Baseball Network was the first television network in the United States to be owned by a professional sports league. In essence, The Baseball Network could be seen as a forerunner to the MLB Network, which would debut about 15 years later.

The package included coverage of games in primetime on selected nights throughout the regular season (under the branding Baseball Night in America), along with coverage of the postseason and the World Series. Unlike previous broadcasting arrangements with the league, there was no national "game of the week" during the regular season; these would be replaced by multiple weekly regional telecasts on certain nights of the week. Additionally, The Baseball Network had exclusive coverage windows; no other broadcaster could televise MLB games during the same night that The Baseball Network was televising games.

The arrangement did not last long; due to the effects of a players' strike on the remainder of the 1994 season, and poor reception from fans and critics over how the coverage was implemented, The Baseball Network would be disbanded after the 1995 season. While NBC would maintain rights to certain games, the growing Fox network (having established its own sports division two years earlier in 1994) became the league's new national broadcast partner beginning in 1996, with its then-parent company News Corporation eventually purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 (although the company has since sold the team).

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